Basic Rules of Science Fiction Novels

Posted by Kristen Hamilton on October 27, 2019 at 8:00 PM

As a fiction book editor, I work with a range of topics and subjects, but one thing is usually a constant: most of my author clients choose to self-publish their book. In the self-publishing world, you don't have to follow the norms of genre writing to a fault, but it's recommended to stay within or close to the guidelines.

Some science fiction novels I've edited include Brain in a Jar by David Shaw, Pina by Bernadette Richards, Solar Winds: Providence Ends by Bryan G. Shewmaker, Time Without by Veronica Tabares, and Asymptote by Larry Skelton.

Here's what you should aim for if you're writing science fiction novels:

    • Sci-fi books tend to explore alternative possibilities or universes. You'll have to do a lot of world-building, which is why sci-fi books tend to be higher in word count. These books can mirror reality, but some aspects of the world we know may be changed.

    • Don't go too fast. Especially if your novel takes place in a strange setting, don't overwhelm the reader with information dumps or sharing too much information too quickly. Slowly draw your readers in with a nice balance of questions (which will build intrigue and propel the reader through your book) and information (which will help your readers build a foundation with the world and characters in your novel).

    • These books are often philosophical and have thoughtful commentary. Make sure that you are always clear in your writing; avoid ambiguity as much as possible. Make sure the main points your book makes are clear and concise.

Word count: 90,000 to 120,000

Sci-fi subgenres include:

    • hard sci-fi
    • soft sci-fi
    • cyberpunk
    • alternate history
    • space opera
    • military sci-fi

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Book editor Kristen Hamilton is the owner and sole employee of

Kristen Corrects, Inc., where she provides manuscript editing

services for traditionally and self-publishing authors. Several

authors whose books she has edited have won awards and have

topped Amazon's best sellers lists.

Reading is Kristen's passion, so when the workday is over, she

can usually be found curled up with a good book alongside her

four cats. She loves watching cat videos and scary movies,

eating pizza, teaching herself French, and traveling, and she is

likely planning her next vacation. She lives outside of Boise, ID.

Categories: writing

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